"The beginnings were humble, but the result was not.
The Mobile Emergency Service for Resuscitation and Extrication now has 170 first-responder teams, 12 training centers and 4 helicopters, with a fifth on the way this spring. It is widely viewed here as one of the only parts of a broken health system functioning at a top-notch level.
“At its best, the system is better than what we have, and at its worst it’s certainly still better than what exists in lots of the United States,” said Peter Gordon, an emergency physician at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, N.Y., who worked over the course of nearly a decade with Dr. Arafat to help build the system.
“His attitude is, ‘We can do it better than anywhere in the world,’ ” Dr. Gordon said. “It’s, ‘Let’s not be as good as the Germans, as good as the French, let’s be even better.’ ”
THOUGH he became a Romanian citizen in 1998, the fact that he was an immigrant, working for an adopted country rather than his native land, added to the sense of selfless sacrifice. “Nobody is a prophet in their own house, in their own homeland,” Dr. Arafat said.
Bald, with his remaining hair clipped extremely short on the sides, Dr. Arafat is intense and assertive without being aggressive or overbearing. He gives the impression of someone you would want in the back of an ambulance if you had a heart attack. More often, his volunteer shifts are on one of his agency’s helicopters, where, he said, patients sometimes recognize him if they are conscious. “ ‘It’s Dr. Arafat,’ they say.”
As a boy growing up in the West Bank, Dr. Arafat had memorized the book “First Aid Without Panic” cover to cover, learning “every page, every picture by heart,” he said. Born in Damascus, Syria, and raised in Nablus, West Bank, he described his attitude as “medicine by any means.” At the age of 14 he not only rode with the fire department on emergency calls, but also began teaching the firefighters techniques he had learned from his well-thumbed first aid manual.By 15 he had begun volunteering at the hospital in Nablus..." READ MORE
Taking Care of His Adopted Country, One Emergency at a Time
By NICHOLAS KULISH
[AS ALWAYS PLEASE GO TO THE LINK TO READ GOOD ARTICLES IN FULL: HELP SHAPE ALGORITHMS (and conversations) THAT EMPOWER DECENCY, DIGNITY, JUSTICE & PEACE... and hopefully Palestine]